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Bernier's Best

Weekend Stakes Previews for August 6

by Matt Bernier
Updated On: August 5, 2022, 5:11 pm ET

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A pair of Win and You're In races for the 2022 Breeders' Cup World Championships highlight a fantastic Saturday of racing from coast-to-coast, with the G1 Whitney Stakes from Saratoga and the G1 Clement L. Hirsch from Del Mar being the co-featured events on the day.

The Whitney (which can be seen on NBC starting at 5 PM ET) is shaping up to be the best race of the season, with nearly all the key players in the Classic division taking part (aside from Flightline and Country Grammer).

The field for the Clement L. Hirsch isn't quite as deep, although there are at least two fillies entered that could prove to be major players in the Distaff division.

Below you will find selections from each of these races as well as the G1 Saratoga Derby, which will be contested at 1 3/16 miles over the Mellon Turf Course.

After twenty-nine weeks, here is the results tally (records reflective of $2 WIN / $2 WPS):

WIN: 14-85 (16.5%, -$59.40)
WPS: 45-85 (52.9%, -$126.90)

 

 

5:43 ET – SARATOGA R10 – G1 WHITNEY – 1 1/8 MILES – DIRT

In terms of raw talent, Life Is Good is strictly the horse to beat in Saturday's $1,000,000 Whitney Stakes for trainer Todd Pletcher. The four-year-old son of Into Mischief is wickedly fast early and possesses the rare ability to stretch his speed out successfully to a route of ground. While his ability to stay a ten-furlong trip remains to be seen (the distance the Breeders' Cup Classic is contested at), his ability to excel at nine-furlongs is without question. He is certainly the fastest horse early, however runners like Hot Rod Charlie and Olympiad are likely to make Life Is Good earn the victory on Saturday. If the “big three” take turns making runs at one another, perhaps AMERICANREVOLUTION (1) – who is not certain to run given common ownership between he and Life Is Good – could take advantage of the circumstances.

Americanrevolution ran a strong second at Churchill Downs in last month's Stephen Foster behind the previously mentioned Olympiad, but a forward move isn't out of the realm of possibility – especially if the three main players take turns knocking heads and soften one another up. I would much prefer Americanrevolution at ten-furlongs (specifically the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on Labor Day Weekend), however I believe he has a chance to outrun his odds at Saratoga on Saturday (assuming he runs).

THE PLAY: 1) AMERICANREVOLUTION TO WIN at odds of 6/1 or greater

 

 

6:20 ET – SARATOGA R11 – G1 SARATOGA DERBY – 1 3/16 MILES – TURF

EMMANUEL (3) would typically be the prime example of a horse you're supposed to play against in Saturday's Saratoga Derby based on the extremely soft trip he pulled when winning the Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park on June 4, however the presence of other highly fancied runners in Saturday's race creates a scenario in which the Todd Pletcher trainee goes off at a fair price. The three-year-old son of More Than Ready walked on an uncontested lead in his turf debut at Belmont in early June, but he doesn't give off the impression that he's a need-the-lead kind of runner. With other pace types such as Classic Causeway and Main Event entered in the Saratoga Derby, jockey Flavien Prat should have every opportunity to position Emmanuel just off those two runners and get first run on the deep closers. If Emmanuel was a colt likely to go off as one of the favorites, he'd be a complete play against. I believe he may get a bit lost in the wagering, though, and ultimately go off at a playable price given the talent he possesses.

THE PLAY: 3) EMMANUEL TO WIN at odds of 5/1 or greater

 

 

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9:00 ET – DEL MAR R9 – G1 CLEMENT L. HIRSCH – 1 1/16 MILES – DIRT

There's a case to be made that the win in last month's Fleur De Lis at Churchill Downs was the best SHEDARESTHEDEVIL (5) has ever run, which is saying something considering she's a past Kentucky Oaks winner. Trained by Brad Cox, the five-year-old mare sat comfortably off a pacesetter before taking over down the lane and kicking away with authority, eventually prevailing by nearly two-lengths. Shedaresthedevil now returns to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in search of a repeat victory in the G1 Clement L. Hirsch, as she won last year's running in emphatic fashion. Saturday's field may be slightly deeper than last year's in terms of talent – specifically Private Mission and Desert Dawn – but Shedaresthedevil's best is simply better than anything either of those fillies can produce at this stage. She's likely to be a short price, but Shedaresthedevil looms as a likely winner of this race.

THE PLAY: 5) SHEDARESTHEDEVIL TO WIN at odds of 9/5 or greater

 

 

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Matt Bernier

Matt Bernier is a betting analyst for NBC Sports and host of "The Matt Bernier Show" podcast. His work has been showcased in the Daily Racing Form, on ESPN, as well as on TVG. Matt can be followed on Twitter @bernier_matt.